Launch DePaul 2015 Awards Night

IMG_24211From cross-training for horses to an elliptical conversion kit for bikes, the businesses presented on at the Launch DePaul 2015 Awards Night were anything but ordinary.

At the Launch DePaul Awards Night on May 5th, six final teams pitched their new ventures to a judging panel composed of four distinguished entrepreneurs from the Chicago business community. All competed for a prize pool of $17,000 and in-kind professional services. Attendees also selected two Audience Choice Award winners by voting with blue chips in the respective teams’ boxes.

Joining us as VIP judges were Seth Kravitz, Co-Founder of Technori; Maura O’Hara, Executive Director of Illinois Venture Capital Association; John Pletz, Senior Reporter – Technology of Crain’s Chicago Business; and Kip Read, Senior VP – Commercial Banking of American Chartered Bank. Suzanne Nance, Emmy Award-winning Broadcaster and Host of 98.7FM WFMT Chicago served as our Honorary Emcee for the evening. 

In the Undergraduate Division, the judges awarded the $4,000 first prize to Elizabeth Hakimi and her company, UpRide, a bicycle-to-elliptical conversion kit. The $2,500 second prize was awarded to AxeCrate, a subscription box of items for guitarists founded by Ryan Siepka. Kidsband, a wearable that monitors a child’s health and location founded by Jenny Fuerte, received the third prize of $1,000.

In the Graduate Division, the judges awarded the $4,000 first prize to Horse Pilates, founded by Sue Nicole Susenburger, an online service that offers cross-training instruction for horses. The $2,500 second prize was awarded to Yanqin Yang and her company, LingoStone, a website/app for learning English with a built-in marketing tool for companies seeking to connect with Chinese consumers. Smart Insurance Saver, the Priceline for car insurance founded by Syed Hussain, received the third prize of $1,000.

One team in each division received an Audience Choice Award of $1,000. The Audience Choice Award winning teams were UpRide (Elizabeth Hakimi) in the Undergraduate Division and LingoStone (Yanqin Yang) in the Graduate Division.